Hank Steenstra reports from Nairobi

Posted by The_Elves

Stand Firm has posted an excellent report from Hank Steenstra, packed full of details re: yesterday's consecrations in Nairobi. Of particular interest, the transcripts of statements by bishops Atwood and Murdoch towards the conclusion of the service. Here are a few excerpts, but you really should read the whole thing, says bossy elfgirl!

The liturgy was for the most part a very traditional Anglican service with some Kenyan touches. One was that a bishop-elect is escorted in and out of the cathedral during the service by a bishop on either side who is holding his hand. This was based on the history of martyrs and the fear that prospective bishops might be inclined to run rather than be consecrated. The service included great quantities of glorious music from traditional hymns to anthems by the great cathedral choir to praise music with African melodies and harmonies led by the Praise Band. To capture an event of worship of this length and variety required one to be present to hear, absorb and join in. The Anglican TV recording may help capture the flavor.

Among the assembled throng were nine primates of the Anglican Communion or their representatives. Those personally present included Archbishops Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya), Henry Orombi (Uganda), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Gregory Venables (Southern Cone), Drexel Gomez (West Indies), Bernard Malango (Central Africa), Justice Akrofi (West Africa) and Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean). Archbishop Peter Akinola (Nigeria) was represented by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. Total support but regrets for being unable to attend came from Archbishop Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania), Archbishop Dirokpa Fidele (Congo) and Archbishop Joseph Marona (Sudan).

In addition to this assembly of the major players in the Global South, the following US bishops were present: Bishop Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh), Jack Iker (Fort Worth), Martyn Minns (CANA) and Chuck Murphy (AMiA), plus Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti (Recife) and Bishop Donald Harvey (Canada). There were about 20 Kenyan bishops also present. All of this episcopate presence contributed to a dramatic sense of great importance surrounding the otherwise ordinary church business of consecrating bishops. No one I spoke with knew of any occasion in the history of the Anglican Communion when so many primates were present to lay hands for the consecration of bishops. [...]

Comments from Bishop Bill Murdoch included the following:

This is an urgent mission moment. So, who better to lead the way than the ones who still know that the Mission is urgent and the Message is the word of God and the gospel of Christ, and the Price to be paid is everything for the love of Christ and his Cross. Who better to remind us that it is not about us, it is about Jesus, the only Lord, the only name by which men can be saved. Who better than the Kenyans, the Africans, the churches of the Global South, whose blood, sweat and tears, whose smiling eyes shine with the light of souls overflowing with the glory of this great salvation. Who better to tell us? The Mission is urgent.

[And Bishop Atwood's remarks included the following]

Second, I owe a great debt to the East African Revival. I bear its mark deep in my heart and spirit. It has provided a profound resonance with my spirit and encouragement for my soul. In it I found a people who have discovered the lengths to which God is willing to go to demonstrate unconditional love––a love so rich and deep it demands response.

I also owe a great debt to many Archbishops who have been mentors and friends. Each has freely shared their redemptive gifts with the church and the world and, thankfully also with me over the years. It is my hope to apply some of what I have learned from them and eventually to become something like them.

I long to have something of the precise theological vision of Drexel Gomez,
the Spirit of Henry Orombi,
the courage of Emmanuel Kolini,
the Gospel passion of Greg Venables,
the clarity of Justice Akrofi,
the servant's heart of Bernard Malango,
the strength of Peter Akinola (represented today by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh - a great leader in his own right),
the willingness of Bob Duncan,
the humility of Donald Harvey,
the conviction of Ian Ernest, and
the distilled simplicity of Joseph Marona,
and the joy of Fidele Dirokpa.

While these and other friends here have been spiritual fathers and inspirational examples for me, I owe a particular debt to Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi...

The full text is here. Do read it all!

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsGlobal South Churches & Primates

Posted August 31, 2007 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Graham Kings wrote:

For another view, in the light of the Primates’ Communique from Dar es Salaam and the timing of these consecrations, see Ruth Gledhill’s article on The Times Online site, 30 August 2007:


From the list given by Hank Steenstra, has anyone noticed that Archbishop John Chew and Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Secretary and Treasurer respectively of the Global South Anglican movement) were not present nor listed amongst those who gave ‘total support but regrets for being unable to attend’?

August 31, 2:00 pm | [comment link]
2. wildfire wrote:

Not excerpted above was +Atwood’s statement that provinces present or sending statements of support comprise 40 of the 52 million weekly Anglican churchgoers.

We should also recall the statement issued by the Global South Steering Committee (including Abps. Chew and Mouneer) in July:

Because of the categorical rejection of the unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme and the urgent needs of the growing number of congregations now linked to various Provinces in the Global South, we have had no choice but to provide additional episcopal oversight from the concerned Provinces. We believe that failure to do so would have resulted in many individuals and congregations lost to the Anglican Communion. ... We recognize that this is a temporary measure and look forward to the time when it is either no longer necessary or they are all part of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA.


August 31, 3:42 pm | [comment link]
3. naab00 wrote:

The mere fact that just ONE English Bishop, Rochester, was willing to approve publicly is a very significant thing.  Because for every one that is prepared to stand up and be counted, there are likely to be many others who simply deem that the time is not yet right to show their hand.  Graham the list of those who WERE there is far more significant than those who were not.  Just as the body of those who have “approved” publicly is more significant than those who (currently) remain silent.

It is a real tragedy that so far Fulcrum have withheld their approval and the time is coming when they will not be able to continue to sit on the fence.

August 31, 3:43 pm | [comment link]
4. Graham Kings wrote:

#3 thanks, naab00, for your comment.

However, it is not the case that Fulcrum is sitting, or continues to sit, on a fence.

If the fence divide concerns issues in sexuality - ‘reasserters’ or ‘reappraisers’ in the terms of Titusonenine - then we are clearly the former.

If the fence divide concerns the issue of Communion - the urgency of keeping the Communion as a ‘Communion’ (with the stress on ‘interdependence’) or being happy to reduce it to a ‘Federation’ (with the stress on ‘independence’) - then we are clearly the former.

If the fence divide concerns wisdom on action (once the 30 September 2007 deadline has passed) -  ‘staying and passionately working for orthodoxy’ or ‘splitting and claiming to be united with all other splitters (past and present)’ - then we are clearly encouraging the former.

August 31, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
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